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Discussion on: Hi, I'm TheWellSpokenDev, #AMA!

marek profile image
Marek Zaluski • Edited

From my own experience, it's possible to vastly improve your communication skills with deliberate effort, just like most skills.

But I've also met introverts who believe that introversion is an immutable characteristic of their personality, sometimes to the point that they avoid taking on jobs/roles that involve more communication.

Do you think there's truth to that belief or is it a self-defeating attitude?

thewellspokendev profile image
The Well Spoken Dev Ask Me Anything

The use of the word immutable is such a strong term!

Here's my opinion: extroversion can be viewed as a skill, something you can use when you need it put it away when you don't. It does not by any means have to permeate or define your personality, but if an individual does value success, has career goals, or is looking for continued flexibility and freedom in their life and career, they're going to face this wall at some point.

They can draw what that door looks like, and by all means take baby steps!

I don't expect anyone who has a severe reservation for people to command meetings or presentations in a week, month, or even a year. But with all twelve step programs, the first step is admitting that there is a problem.

The problem also looks different for different people and their goals.

For someone the problem may be that they want better personal and collegial relationships. So that process may begin by reaching out to old friends or colleagues just to chat or go to lunch.

For others the problem may be career stagnation, and that process will inevitably be different. For them, something as simple as engaging in questions with other colleagues, then beginning to engage in meetings with large groups. The key here is, there's no such thing as a quiet leader and it will be impossible for anyone who wants to move forward in their career to completely ignore this skill.

That may be an acknowledgement to your second point that immutable introversion is indeed self defeating. But then you must define what self-defeat looks like for any one person. Everyone is different.

Lastly, to my original point, being able to speak your thoughts does not change your personality, in fact it just let's others take a small peek at what that personality is. You are in control of your thoughts and values, and that's what defines who you are. Not what you have to say, but rather how you say it, isn't that the saying?


jonw profile image

@thewellspokendev I actually initially thought u were a kid who just wanted to appear cool as a communicator cos he wasn’t quite a coder. I now know better.

Extroversion is, to me, a lacking in certain skills. U explained it very accurately. One key skill is empathy.

When I speak publicly (teaching in class, speaking at conference, etc), I don’t just think about my own presentation (choice of words, gestures, etc). A major part of my communication involves understanding (often in real-time) the audience I’m speaking with (not to).

U continue to amaze me. You’re certainly the real deal.